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Sometimes life is overwhelming. We have so many things to take care of—our careers, our families, our finances, our homes, ourselves—that it can feel impossible to find time to conquer our goals. We’re often super ambitious at the beginning of the year, hoping to accomplish many things at once, but we slack off once life becomes busier and unexpected problems arise. No matter where your focus is—whether it’s balancing work and family life, studying for exams, or moving to the next stage in life—it can be daunting to get it all done efficiently. Here are my tips for organizing your life to help you get everything done.
Get On a Schedule
I know it sounds simple, but creating and sticking to a schedule creates order in your life. Even with my hectic routine, I manage to plan my calendar to get the most out of my day. Getting up at the same time every day will set your internal clock, which is the first step to setting your schedule. I block off the first 20 minutes of my morning to have warm lemon water with cayenne pepper and read the emails that have come in overnight. This gives me time for my body to wake up and my mind to become alert.
Meetings and appointments can make mornings and afternoons unpredictable, so I rely on evenings to get myself back on track. Having dinner around the same time every night allows you a set number of hours each evening to wrap up your daily goals. An important step in this process is getting to bed at a decent time. Although the definition of “decent” will vary from person to person (for me, it is 11:00 P.M.), this ritual will help you to get a good night’s sleep so you can start the next day feeling refreshed and ready to get it all done.
Learn to Prioritize
One of the most important ways to get it all done is learning how to prioritize. Decide what is most important and put that task on the top of your list. It’s very easy to get distracted by smaller less valuable items, but the time spent knocking those things off your list will ultimately push your top priority further and further down.
Yes, women are masters at switching back and forth between tasks with minimal setbacks, but I guarantee that trying to do two things at once is not as productive as it appears. I was guilty of being a multi-tasker for years, thinking I was getting ahead, but in all actuality, I was setting myself back. I now block off all distractions and focus only on the task at hand. It has helped me to work smarter and become more productive.
Outsource It to an App
I know I’m not superwoman, so I rely on technology to help keep me on track. Here are a few apps I’ve found to promote productivity:
Business Calendar intuitively organizes all of my appointments and meetings. It is the all-around, complete app for responsible, complex calendar management. The app’s widget gives me a clear snapshot of my day, so I never miss a thing. Free for download: Google Play.
Wunderlist is not your ordinary to-do list. It is an amazingly simple tool that will help you stay organized while prioritizing your tasks. With Wunderlist, you can create multiple lists for each project or subject, such as groceries, calls to return, or bills to pay. Sync any chosen list with a colleague or loved one, assign a particular task to someone, and even add comments to an item for further detail. My husband and I use it to update the grocery list and save articles that we think the other would be interested in. Free for download: Apple Store and Google Play.
I use Trello to keep track of all of my business projects. This card-based program is easy to use and very helpful when organizing tasks that have multiple components. Add supporting documents, checklists, and status updates to every step. Whether you are working solo or with a team, this app is a go-to for accomplishing your goals. Available in both desktop and app formats.
Use Your Idle Time
For many New Yorkers, the subway might be the only moment in your day when you can just sit and do nothing (unless, of course, you’re riding during rush hour). Take advantage of your downtime and focus it on a task. You can get organized, make your grocery list, or go through emails. For me, I have a mini meeting with myself to make sure I’m on track for the day. I also use my downtime to clean out my inbox.
Take Time for Yourself
I know from experience that being stressed and burned out only leads to being less productive. Take time to recharge your battery! Last week I did something I hadn’t done in a long time: I stayed in bed for most of the day, ordered in, and caught up on episodes of This is Us. The next day, I felt ready to conquer the world. I got so much accomplished, I even impressed myself! Life is stressful and can run you down, so don’t be afraid to say “no” and relax every now and then!
How do you get it all done? Share your tips for productivity below.